Arena Football Playoffs news and Notes

Arena Football Playoffs news and Notes

Sevransky's AFL playoff betting preview
By TED SEVRANSKY

The Arena Football playoffs begin this weekend, with four national TV games on ESPN and ESPN2. We’ll see four more national TV games next weekend as the top two seeds in each conference come off their bye weeks with home games. The two conference championship games are the following weekend, followed by Arena Bowl XXII in New Orleans following a two week ‘Super Bowl’ type layoff. Each week between now and the Arena Bowl, I’ll be previewing the upcoming playoff matchups.

Friday, June 27

New York @ Dallas Dallas -7, O/U 103


Dallas won 13 games in 2006, but were bounced out of the playoffs at home by Orlando following their bye week. They went 15-1 last year, but suffered a devastating playoff loss at home to Columbus, also following their bye. Dallas is coming off another exceptional regular season, but the Desperados know full well that regular season success does not directly translate to postseason excellence. It’s surely worth noting that this year, Dallas didn’t win the division and won’t have a bye prior to the start of the playoffs.

Dallas played like a team that wasn’t particularly concerned with their regular season results down the stretch of the regular season. The Desperados went just 3-3 straigt up (SU), 2-4 against the spread (ATS) in their final six games of the campaign. To make matters worse, the Desperados have suffered through a rash of injuries in recent weeks, with electric kick returner Josh Bush the latest to go down, although star Ironman Will Pettis is expected to return to the lineup this week following a two game concussion induced absence.

Dallas has dominated this series in recent years, winning six straight meetings against the Dragons. Both meetings this year were tight games, each decided by exactly two points, with New York covering the spread as an underdog in both contests. Last year, Dallas won the two meetings 60-7 and 67-13, with their defense absolutely dominating the Dragons in both games. The Dragons offense hasn’t exactly clicked against the Desperados defense this year either. New York scored just 31 and 49 points in the two defeats, held to a very modest 11 touchdowns on 21 meaningful drives in those games.

New York suffered a major injury of their own in their season ending loss to Philadelphia last weekend when leading receiver Jason Willis dislocated his ankle. Willis caught 135 passes and 30 touchdowns this year, leaving veteran quarterback Aaron Garcia without his top target against a defense that they’ve struggled against. That being said, all the pressure is on the home team coming off two consecutive playoff collapses, and New York has been a pointspread machine since March, covering the pointspread at an 8-3-1 clip in their last dozen games. It’s surely worth noting that the last four games have all flown Under the total, three of those Unders coming by more than five touchdowns!

Saturday, June 28

Colorado @ Utah Utah -6.5, O/U 119


Utah’s second half turnaround was one of the biggest stories of the season in the AFL. The Blaze started out the campaign with an 0-9 mark finding new ways to lose each week – a defensive meltdown, an untimely turnover, a special teams miscue. But head coach Danny White coaxed an amazing turnaround , as Utah went 6-1 SU, 6-1 ATS in their final seven games to not only reach the playoffs but actually earn a first round home game in the weak American Conference.

The Blaze are led by the No. 2 quarterback in passing yardage and touchdowns this year, Joe Germaine (No. 3 in QB rating). Receivers Huey Whittaker, JJ McKelvey and Aaron Boone became the first receiving trio to each catch 100 passes in the same season, all three ranking in the top eight in the AFL in receiving yards. Even the Blaze defense, which was a disaster area back in March and April, has come on strong down the stretch.

Colorado, too, has some momentum heading into the playoffs after winning and covering their last two regular season games following a dismal stretch of seven defeats in an eight game span. Unlike Danny White’s Blaze, who have been bounced out of the playoffs in the first round in each of the last two seasons, Colorado has a recent history of postseason success. John Elway’s Crush won the Arena Bowl with John Dutton at QB and Mike Dailey as head coach as recently as 2005. Last year, the Crush went 1-1 SU, 2-0 ATS on the road in the playoffs, winning outright at Kansas City and losing in spread covering fashion at the eventual champs San Jose.

But the depleted Crush receiving corps took another hit last weekend. Already missing star rookie wide receiver/kick returner Chad Owens with a torn ACL, speedy WR threat Brad Pyatt went on injured reserve with concussions problems. Dutton, the former Arena Bowl MVP, ranked dead last among QBs with at least 220 passing attempts in quarterback rating, and he tied for the league lead in interceptions thrown. The Crush lost their only regular season meeting at Utah 71-36.

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Re: Arena Football Playoffs news and Notes

AFL Playoffs

Friday, June 27

NEW YORK (8 - 8) at DALLAS (12 - 4)

Top Trends for this game.
DALLAS is 12-4 ATS (+7.6 Units) as a favorite of 3.5 to 9.5 points over the last 2 seasons.
DALLAS is 22-38 ATS (-19.8 Units) in home games since 1996.
DALLAS is 1-8 ATS (-7.8 Units) in home games where the total is between 100 and 104.5 points over the last 3 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
DALLAS is 4-2 against the spread versus NEW YORK over the last 3 seasons
DALLAS is 6-0 straight up against NEW YORK over the last 3 seasons
5 of 6 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


Saturday, June 28

COLORADO (6 - 10) at UTAH (6 - 10)

Top Trends for this game.
COLORADO is 1-8 ATS (-7.8 Units) in road games revenging a loss vs opponent over the last 2 seasons.
UTAH is 6-0 ATS (+6.0 Units) in home games against American Conference, Central Division Opponents over the last 3 seasons.
UTAH is 17-32 ATS (-18.2 Units) in all games over the last 3 seasons.
UTAH is 6-19 ATS (-14.9 Units) as a favorite over the last 3 seasons.
UTAH is 7-17 ATS (-11.7 Units) in home games over the last 3 seasons.
UTAH is 6-16 ATS (-11.6 Units) when playing against a team with a losing record over the last 3 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
UTAH is 3-0 against the spread versus COLORADO over the last 3 seasons
UTAH is 3-0 straight up against COLORADO over the last 3 seasons
3 of 3 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


Monday, June 30

ORLANDO (9 - 7) at CLEVELAND (9 - 7)

Top Trends for this game.
ORLANDO is 0-6 ATS (-6.6 Units) off a win versus a division rival over the last 2 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
CLEVELAND is 1-1 against the spread versus ORLANDO over the last 3 seasons
CLEVELAND is 1-1 straight up against ORLANDO over the last 3 seasons
2 of 2 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


GRAND RAPIDS (6 - 10) at ARIZONA (8 - 8) - 6/30/2008, 9:30 PM
Top Trends for this game.
GRAND RAPIDS is 3-13 ATS (-11.3 Units) in road games against American Conference, Western Division Opponents since 1996.

Head-to-Head Series History
ARIZONA is 1-1 against the spread versus GRAND RAPIDS over the last 3 seasons
ARIZONA is 1-1 straight up against GRAND RAPIDS over the last 3 seasons
2 of 2 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons 

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